Wednesday August 27, 2014
August is a month that looms large in most teenagers’ diaries. It’s a month of extreme emotions – ecstasy at seeing all your hard work rewarded by good grades and university places or disappointment at not getting what you wanted.
I’m pleased to report that Brent’s students have done extremely well in both A-levels and GCSEs. Brent managed to maintain an overall performance of 98 percent of pupils scoring A* to E grades, and increased its proportion of students achieving A* to B grades by two per cent to 57 per cent – its best on record. The national average for this category is 52 per cent.
For GCSEs, early indications show that pupils in the borough outperformed many other London boroughs with between 60 and 63 per cent of students achieving at least five grades A* to C, including English and Mathematics.
And whilst I wish huge congratulations to all the pupils, I know these results are not achieved by the pupils alone. Credit for academic success has to go to selfless parents and of course, dedicated, passionate teachers. Heartiest congratulations to all of you.
On the topic of schools, I’m pleased to share with you that Brent has embarked on a £150m school expansion programme. Recent estimates by the Greater London Authority show that an extra 10,000 school places will be needed across Brent by the end of the decade.
The school expansion programme will mean that 13 schools in Brent that are graded Good or Outstanding by Ofsted, will be expanded to not only accommodate the growing pupil numbers, but also to help improve the quality of education on offer in Brent. We want to give every young person in the borough the best start possible.
This month also brings good news for people renting in Brent. A new licensing scheme for private sector landlords, is being introduced. This is much needed; I was recently chatting to a letting agent who was telling me about 13 people renting a two bedroom flat in Brent. Not only were they living in such cramped conditions, there was also damp and visible mould. These kinds of conditions are unacceptable. Whilst I know that many landlords are diligent and respectful of their tenants, there are also a lot that are not. Sadly, many tenants live in fear of their landlord so put up such conditions: one in nine renters in London have avoided asking their landlord to improve conditions for fear of being evicted.
The licensing scheme aims to raise living standards for the minority of tenants who struggle to get repairs done, live in poor conditions or suffer overcrowding. We are launching a pilot of the scheme covering three wards Harlesden, Wembley Central and Willesden Green.